Citing a proliferation in unmanned aircraft sightings near manned aircraft, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is reportedly telling airport retailers to discontinue selling drones – and that includes models that weigh under 1 lb.
The Port Authority told NJ.com that it ordered Hudson News and Brookstone at Newark Liberty International Airport to “immediately” remove the drones from their shelves: the Parrot Bebop, the Z-4 Mini Drone from Swift Stream RC and the Quark Micro Drone from Propel.
The reason for the ban is that the Port Authority “shares the aviation community's safety concerns about the growing presence of drones around the region's airports,” the NJ.com report says.
Earlier this month, the FAA released a statement on the reported 650 drone sightings from manned aircraft pilots this year, including hundreds at altitudes over 10,000 feet.
Retired pilot Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, who famously made a successful landing on water when the Airbus jet he was flying was struck by a bird, reportedly said on Face the Nation that he was concerned with what damage a 25 to 55 lb. drone could have on an airplane, according to a Fortune report, which adds that he does not, however, “want to see regulation stifle innovation in the emerging unmanned aircraft industry.”
According to the product specifications of the Quark Micro Drone, it weighs in at 6.4 oz., or .4 lbs.; has dimensions of 4 x 2.2 x 7 inches; and offers a range of 100 meters, or 328 feet.
In an Aug. 19 Tweet in regards to the airport drone ban, Gregory McNeal, co-founder of Airmap.io, which offers an airspace database for UAS operators to know where and where not to fly, stated, “If the quark micro drone ‘terrifies’ you or ‘hits a nerve’ (it fits in palm of hand) seek help.”
The NJ.com report also quotes an airport-goer as calling Hudson News’ drone offerings “clearly toys” and not something that “some dad coming home from a trip” would “start buzzing planes” with in the parking lot.
According to Fast Company, Brookstone and Hudson News are complying with the Port Authority’s request.